Currently, the Immigration and Nationality Act permits the issuance of approximately 140,000 employment-based visas each year. The percentage of available visas that may be awarded to nationals of any one country is capped, i.e., visas issued to individuals of one country cannot exceed 7% of the total number of visas available.

Under the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (H.R. 3012), introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R–UT), the per-country limitation for employment-based visas would be removed. Additionally, the following transitional rules would apply to employment-based visas:

  • Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 (Oct. 1, 2011-Sept. 30, 2012): 15% of visas would be allocated to immigrants who are natives of a foreign state or dependent area that was not one of the two countries with the largest numbers of natives obtaining permanent resident status during FY 2010.
  • FY 2013: 10% of visas would be allocated to immigrants who are natives of a foreign state or dependent area that was not one of the two countries with the largest numbers of natives obtaining permanent resident status during FY 2011.
  • FY 2014: 10% of visas would be allocated to immigrants who are natives of a foreign state or dependent area that was not one of the two countries with the largest numbers of natives obtaining permanent resident status during FY 2012.

Additionally, H.R. 3012 increases, from 7 to 15% of the total number of available visas, the per-country restrictions for family-sponsored immigrants.

The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement.